MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 467 conducted low light flying evaluations for the squadron’s senior pilots at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point from Jan. 20-27.
Evaluated and certified by flight instructors with Marine Aviation and Weapons Tactics Squadron 1, the HMLA-467 pilots reinforced the principles and skills required to pilot an aircraft in low-light environments.
The training and certification allows the squadron’s senior pilot instructors to train and certify new and less experienced pilots for low-light flying operations, according to Maj. Bart Betik, a UH-1Y Venom pilot with the squadron.
“The focus of these qualifications is to become more tactically proficient in a night environment,” said Betik, who recertified as a low-light instructor during the training.
During training, MAWTS-1 instructors, headquartered at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., look for specific traits, said Betik. Pilots need to show confidence, knowledge and leadership abilities during both regular and low-light flying.
HMLA-467 supports 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing with rotary wing attack helicopter support during training and operations. To build on their capabilities, it is imperative for HMLA-467 to continue to give pilots solid training and certifications in all flying conditions, said Betik. With more low-light flying instructors, the squadron increases its ability to support 2nd MAW during possible future operations.
“It takes a lot more training to become skilled in a dark or night environment,” said Cpl. Jeremiah Hammond, a UH-1Y Huey crew chief with HMLA-467. “Flying at night you need to have a much higher sense of situational awareness.”
During low-light flights, communication between pilot and aircrew is imperative. All low-light flying, whether in training or in support of operations, requires cohesion between pilot and aircrew, according to Hammond. Frequent training and certification gives HMLA-467 pilots and aircrew the opportunity to refine their low-light flying abilities, according to Hammond.
“Flying at night can wear you down quicker than during the day said,” said Hammond. “With night vision goggles you lose a lot of your depth perception, so the pilots rely heavily on everyone in the aircraft to perform. The more experienced pilots we have, the easier it will be to operate.”